Dreamcast 2D Fighting Game Library

 The Sega Saturn was a phenomenal platform for 2D fighters, but many gamers would not have expected that the Dreamcast would follow in the Saturn’s footsteps so well.

The Dreamcast was strongly supported by both Capcom and SNK. It received many of the best fighting games before the PS2, XBox, and Gamecube. There are also a number of great games (mostly SNKs) that did not get a port to the newer console or the ports were inferior.

While the Dreamcast’s standard controller is pretty awkward for 2D fighters (as opposed the blissful Saturn controller), the “official” Agetec arcade stick is very well built and should be treasured by any fighter fan.

Street Fighter 3 Third Strike Dreamcast ScreenshotStreet Fighter 3: Double Impact
Street Fighter 3: Third Strike
Much like the first Street Fighter Alpha game, Street Fighter 3 initially threw off some Capcom fanboys because of its new fighting style and almost completely new roster of characters.

However, those of who gave the game a chance (especially once the later installments came along) were treated with a pleasant surprise of a polished fighting system, unique fighters, and wonderful animation.

The Dreamcast was actually treated to all three versions of Street Fighter 3. The first two installments came packaged on Street Fighter 3: Dual Strike, but were greatly overlooked. It wasn’t until Third Strike was released that Street Fighter 3 started to get the respect it deserved.

Among other great moves like Hyper Arts and Combos, Street Fighter 3 introduced the Parry system, which when used successfully, will interrupt the opponent’s attack and open him/her up to your best efforts.. Each of these fighting elements contributes to the heavy strategy element found in the game.

Third Strike also included a grading system that rated your fighting skills based on your style and strategy. You’ll feel that it’s not just the win that counts, but also how you did it.
Review of Street Fighter 3: Double Impact
Review of Street Fighter 3: Third Strike

 Street Fighter Alpha 3
Gamers love Street Fighter and large character rosters, so Street Fighter Alpha 3 received a great deal of praise by bringing a slew of the characters from Street Fighter 2 in with the already impressive lineup of Street Fighter Alpha 2 characters in addition to some new players.

Alpha 3 had a wonderful blend of fresh sprites, great combos, and a fighting system that was easy to play, but difficult to master. It also allowed great flexibility in choosing your fighting style.

While the Dreamcast port wasn’t technically arcade perfect, it did have a wealth of extra features and play modes. Overall, its basically a requirement for Dreamcast owners that are interested in fighting games.
Review of Street Fighter Alpha 3

 The Last Blade 2
Many SNK fans consider the Last Blade series to be what Samurai Shodown 3 and 4 should have been. It’s gameplay can be best compared to the later Samurai Shodowns and with some elements of the King of Fighters series, with the end result being a remarkably smooth and enjoyable fighting engine.

There are three modes of play, Power, Speed and EX (a merging of the first two) which make for substantial variety in gameplay. There is also a great deal of depth to the game, aided further by the addition of the Repel button, which is somewhat similar to Street Fighter 3’s parry system.

Every single frame of animation appears to be included in the Dreamcast version and the animations are smooth and fluid. Keep in mind that Last Blade games have low-key visuals. Don’t expect huge, flashy supers and uber-high hit combos. Instead you’ll find moves of a simple but pleasing visual flair.
Review of The Last Blade 2

 Fatal Fury Mark of the Wolves
Possibly the best SNK fighter ever, Fatal Fury (Garow): Mark of the Wolves takes place well after the events of the previous games in the series. Because of this and the modernized fighting system is is basically SNK’s counterpart to Street Fighter 3: Third Strike.

Like Street Fighter 3, Mark of the Wolves has a completely new lineup of characters with Terry Bogard being the only returning character. This gives SNK the opportunity to explore their creativity in bring fresh characters with a new style in terms of both fighting and aesthetics. The new additions to the gameplay engine in MOTW include the T.O.P. (Tactical Offensive Position) system for offense and the “Just Defended”, system (again similar to Third Strike’s parry system) on defense.

The T.O.P. system lets you assign a time period activated by a certain point in your health bar where you will have several unique abilities that will greatly enhance your offensive and even defensive abilities. T.O.P. and “Just Defended” are just two of the several different techniques you’ll find, making Mark Of The Wolves a pretty darn tactical 2D fighting game.
Review of Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves

 Vampire Chronicles
The Darkstalkers series was Capcom’s first real leap of gameplay and graphic innovation that Capcom ever made in fighting games since Street Fighter II. It featured very fluid animation, exotic moves, and was also the first fighting game that allowed air blocking. The unique array of characters also added a great deal of style to bring a different look to the fighter genre.

Instead of offering a trilogy compilation of the existing Darkstalkers games (which were previously released on the Saturn and Playstation), Vampire Chonicles lets you choose beween three different gameplay modes: Vampire, Hunter, and Savior. Each of these modes modifies the game engine to reflect the style of the different games in the trilogy. The most notable adjustment of the modes is the Lifebar management.

You also get to select your character type: Vampire, Hunter, Savior, and Savior 2. This selects the actual character type (moves, combos, supers, etc) that you control. So if you hated what they did to Bishamon in Savior, but absolutely love him in Hunter, you know have the choice. The one really neat thing about this is that Savior 2 NEVER made it to any home system.
Review of Vampire Chronicles

 King of Fighters ’99 Dream Match,
King of Fighters ’99 Evolution,
King of Fighters 2000, 2001, and 2002
Between 1994 and 2003, SNK blessed fighting fans with a new installment of The King of Fighters series in order to bring us some thing a bit more interesting. While the Neo-Geo is the only console to have every standard installment before Neo-Wave, the Dreamcast received a nice handful of them — nearly as many as the PS2 eventually received.

It started on the Dreamcast with King of Fighters ’99 Dream Match — which is actually King of Fighters ’98. The Dreamcast later received King of Fighters ’99 Evolution (the real KOF ’99 plus 2 strikers). After the Dreamcast left the American retail scene, we saw Japan get King of Fighters 2000, 2001, and 2002 on their Dreamcasts. Personally, my favorite of the bunch is ’99 Dream Match, but their are all filled with classic SNK style and solid controls.
Review of King of Fighters ’99 Dream Match
Review of King of Fighters ’99 Evolution
Review of King of Fighters 2000
Review of King of Fighters 2001
Review of King of Fighters 2002

 Guilty Gear X
While Capcom’s Street Fighter and SNK’s King of Fighters series may get most of the attention from the mainstream gaming media, the Sega Sammy’s Guilty Gear series has quietly become a cult classic among brawler fans.

The fighting system is simple to learn, but also very deep. Each character only has a handful of special moves, but the game encourages you to link together your own moves. A skilled player could rack up a 15+ combo, and only use regular attacks.

For those not familiar with the Guilty Gear X series, it also features some of the highest-resolution sprites for a 2D fighter, so it is incredibly beautiful. The only fighter that comes close is in terms of 2D smoothness is Street Fighter 3: Third Strike.
Review of Guilty Gear X

 Super Street Fighter 2X
If you don’t know much about Street Fighter 2, I’m surprised you’re reading this. But if you don’t, welcome to your Dreamcast — the best place to get started. Super Street Fighter 2X is possibly the best console version of the game that started the 2D fighter revolution. Every sprite is perfect. Every frame of animation is there. And the gameplay is as good as it gets.

This Japan-only release might be a challenge to find if you want an original copy, but it’s worth the hunt. Back when it was released, it utilized the Japanese online matching service. It’s just a shame Dreamcast users can’t use that service now.
Review of Super Street Fighter 2X

 Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
If you are looking for a fighter that is out of the ordinary, you may want to look into JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. JBA sports an unbelievable amount of depth that is unfortunately overlooked by critics who try to pigeonhole it as a typical Capcom fighter.

JBA eschews Capcom’s traditional 6 button layout in favor of a deceptively simple 4 button layout (Light Attack, Medium Attack, Hard Attack, and a Stand button).

The Stand is the most innovative part of JBA and can basically be described as a psychic extension of your character. When your Stand is off, you can only perform simple basic combos. However, upon activating your Stand, your Special Moves increase in power, you can easily perform devastating Chain Combos. With the Stand, you also no longer receive damage from guarding Special and super moves, and you gain various other abilities to add to your arsenal.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has incredible animation and likes to show it off. Every charactor is incredibly unique and is animated fluidly.
Review of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

Marvel vs Capcom 2 Dreamcast ScreenshotMarvel vs Capcom,
Marvel vs Capcom 2
These tag-team fighters has quite a fan following, but it’s more of a casual gamers’ fighter (aka button masher) instead of being a tactical fighter like SF3:TS or FF:MOTW. Marvel vs Capcom 2 has an especially monster-sized character roster and a tons of combo moves that show off its flashiness.

While Marvel vs. Capcom 2 is nice when you want some eye candy and a large amount of characters at your disposal, I feel that the original Marvel vs Capcom is more balanced in terms of gameplay.

Marvel vs Capcom 2 seems to focus on bringing 3D backgrounds and a more characters to the mix instead of polishing the gameplay. I also feel obligated to mention that the music in MvC2 is terrible.
(Because of this, there are many people changing the music on their rips of MvC2)

Even with their shortcomings, both Marvel vs Capcom games are still great fighters to blow off some steam with and have a good time with some of your friends.
Review of Marvel vs Capcom
Review of Marvel vs Capcom 2

Capcom vs SNK 2 Dreamcast ScreenshotCapcom vs. SNK,
Capcom vs SNK 2
I personally enjoyed the Capcom vs SNKs more than I did the Marvel vs Capcom games as I enjoy the SNK style more than the abundance of Marvel characters. Capcom vs SNK also pioneered the Grove system which allowed you to adapt your characters to your favorite playing style (either Capcom or SNK).

Capcom vs. SNK brought the two biggest franchises in the 2D fighting world together, but it was far from perfect and garnered probably more criticism than it did acclaim from hardcore fans. While it was still an enjoyable fighter it suffered from a butchered movelist, simple mechanics, and obviously Capcom-biased gameplay.

There was a lot to enjoy for those who were prepared to leave aside its perceived ‘shortcomings’ and enjoy it for what it was, rather than feel disappointed for what it wasn’t – its beautiful presentation and the sheer thrill of seeing Ryu take on Iori, or Chun Li fighting Mai was enough for a lot of us.

Fundamentally, while for the hardcore this game was not quite up there with the ultra-refined likes of Street Fighter Alpha 3 or Mark of the Wolves, it’s still an entertaining game.
Review of Capcom vs SNK
Review of Capcom vs SNK 2

 Mortal Kombat Gold
While I am mostly a Street Fighter fan (and an SNK junkie on the side), I know there are many Mortal Kombat fans out there. You would think Mortal Kombat Gold would be a compilation of all the Mortal Kombat games on one CD, but it’s actually just an enhanced version of Mortal Kombat 4 with five new characters (for a total of twenty) and better graphics than the original arcade game.

Mortal Kombat definately has a different feel that Capcom and SNK’s fighters. MK Gold is fast-paced and full of action as opposed to depth and strategy. (Unless I’m missing something)
Review of Mortal Kombat Gold

More Dreamcast Fighters…
There are also a number of other great 2.5D (Project Justice and Tech Romancer) and 3D fighters (Soul Calibur and Virtua Fighter 3TB) that are availible for the Dreamcast, but I will touch on those in a future installment.

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44 Comments

Joaquin says:

I just got me a dreamcast for 19.99 at a store. I am currently playing Shenmue 1. I have already ordered Jojo, Tennis 2k2 (i think this plays better than 3), and Shenmue 2. I was actually lucky to get Shenmue 2 for only 20 dollars off at ebay, which comes with everything. I have to hold off on the snk games just cause i am waiting for better ports. All i need is Project Justice to complete my collection.

Mike says:

quick question why don’t you guys just burn the games now Dcres have great versions of most of these games. there are also like 6 of the capcom ones are on 1 disk and 3 kof are in 1 disk as well all play well

casiotech says:

wut?

alpha 2 is better than alpha 3?

alpha 3 is better than CvS2

are you on crack?

racketboy says:

No, actually, I’m not on crack.
More characters does not equal a better game.
If you can explain why the games you prefer are actually better, I’d like to hear it 🙂

Shadowchaosx says:

Nice, i have most of these on the dreamcast n some on both DC and PS2 and i can say the DC versions always play better. But great list man u nailed it for the games 😛

ALEX says:

your’e right racket Alpha Three is better I feel that Capcom
Snk2 is good but they forgot to put more love into it some of the fight scenes and music drag this game down too sometimes it bores me although it has lots of characters it
doesn’t mean its that good even if they would’ve put the rockman in it will still suffer from what I was expecting
the presentation was very lacking in this game.

dude says:

calling marvel vs capcom 2 a button masher, is an ignorant statement.

racketboy says:

In comparison to some of the other games, it is.
You have to admit that newbies can easily do some serious damage by button-mashing. Of course, a high-skilled player can still counter button-mashers, but the same newbies would be toast on a game like Third Strike or MotW.

dude says:

They’re all 2d fighters but the VS series (or technically XMEN: COTA?) created a sub genre on 2d fighting games which made it different from 3rd strike, alpha, MOTW, etc. The VS Series added new stuffs to the fighting genre and that made it easier to make combos, that’s why it’s button masher friendly. 3rd strike and MOTW still where on the “classic 2d fighter gameplay”, which means still had the street fighter 2 formula. I can’t describe it much, my english is weak, but i hope you got my point.

racketboy says:

That makes sense. I guess the point I was making was how easy it is for beginners, but yes, they are different subgenres.
Thanks for your feedback!

Markus says:

Very helpfull list!
Already got some of those. Especially MOTW is great!
Now I’m planning to buy SF3 Third Strike but I’m actually a litte confused wether the Dreamcast port or the PS2port is the way to go in terms of how close it is to the arcade version.
Can anyone please give me a well-founded statement on that please?

thanks in advance

Markus says:

aww … I meant beforehand, not advance.
🙂 please excuse me

Matthew says:

I’ve also preferred Street Fighter Alpha 2 over Alpha 3.
Alpha introduced many improvements with enhanced ability to juggle combos however the isms took away the Alpha 2 game play where you could use both custom combos and super combos interchangeably based on the circumstances.
I would have preferred it if they didn’t complicate things and didn’t add isms I mean I don’t know about anyone else but I personally never used anything except the standard a-ism but I missed not being able to launch custom combos.
X-ism was kind of shit as it would completely change the balance of the game no alpha counters or air blocks which is kind of an Alpha staple.
While Alpha 3 is a fantastic Street Fighter game for me Street Fighter Alpha 2 is the only game so far to surpass the original Street Fighter 2’s in terms of added features.
Where Street Fighter 3 and 4 are good in their own rights they removed Alpha’s advancements such as air blocking , alpha counters and multiple super combos and while some purists will prefer it this way I personally feel that Alpha 2 was the best and most advanced Street Fighter game to date in terms of gameplay mechanics.
Sure Street Fighter 3 has parrying but I think that none except the most hardcore of SF3 players would have been good at using the parrying system despite the game shoving it down the players throat.

CD AGES says:

Where’s CVS Pro on the list!? :/

DCfan says:

Great list but I disagree with MvC2 being a “casual fighter”. Its team based gameplay easily makes it one of the deepest fighting games ever made, button mashing will get you slaughtered online. And MvC1 is far less balanced than MvC2. I do agree about the music though, that elevator music doesn’t belong in a fighting game.

juliokachino says:

all this games also relased on ps2,ps2 have the best fighting games ever

petran79 says:

That may be true. but DC supported online play

Patrick BBE says:

I’m game hunting in the local game shops in Los Angeles.

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